Unitil, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is entering the next phase of its System Upgrade for Reliable Energy (SURE) project and will begin work along commuter roadways in Portland in mid-April. The Unitil SURE project, a 14-year project now in year five, is modernizing the Portland area's gas infrastructure, making it more reliable and better able to meet the growing demand for natural gas in Maine.
The initial work for 2015 is scheduled to begin on or about April 13 in the following locations:
- Washington Avenue: Ocean Avenue to Allen Avenue
- Allen Avenue: from the railroad tracks near Forest Avenue to Pennell Avenue
- Deering Street: Mellen Street to High Street
- Temple Street: Congress Street to Free Street
The Washington Avenue, Allen Avenue and Deering Street projects are expected to take two to three months to complete; the Temple Street project should be completed in about two weeks. On-street parking will be impacted in the construction zones and the projects may cause traffic delays, although two-way traffic will be maintained most of the time. Traffic on Deering Street will be one-way and/or alternating. Home and business owners will always have access to their properties.
“As we begin another construction season, we remain committed to minimizing disruptions to local residents and businesses as we upgrade Portland’s energy infrastructure,” said Matt Doughty, SURE Project manager, Unitil. “Safety is our first priority, but we will work quickly and efficiently to complete our work with as little inconvenience as possible to area residents.”
More than four miles of new gas main lines and over six miles of lines will be upgraded as part of this year's construction. New England Utility Constructors (NEUCO) is the contractor for the SURE Project.
Unitil completed SURE project construction and excavation work in Portland’s Munjoy Hill neighborhood on schedule in 2014, replacing more than 2 miles of cast iron pipe with state-of-the art, high-density plastic pipe. An additional 1.7 miles were upgraded to allow the system to operate at a higher pressure, modernizing the local infrastructure. Construction also included the replacement of 0.3 miles of unprotected steel main in South Portland and upgrades to 12 pressure limiting valves along Unitil’s distribution system. In four years, Unitil has completed 30 percent of the SURE project, including all planned work in Westbrook.
Due to the construction work in Portland, Unitil will be able to offer natural gas service to new customers who live near the existing pipeline. Residents and businesses in the neighborhood who are interested in switching to natural gas should call Unitil today at 1-888-4-UNITIL, or fill out an online form.
For the latest information about the SURE project and construction schedules, please visit www.ngupgrade.com or call Unitil’s toll-free hotline 1-866-821-4386.